Distance learning made students find solutions to maintain their mental health


For annual studio photos, Ellie Hokernson-Brun poses at Bordeaux photography. Photo by Jeannine Boredeaux

Faced with unprecedented circumstances, students found themselves in an uncontrollable situation. Since the closing of schools in March due to COVID-19, distance learning became the new system for the school year. Without being able to physically interact with friends due to the social distancing guidelines, many were left feeling isolated during quarantine. In fact, a study by the National Institute of Health revealed that six in 10 teens feel increased loneliness as a result of the coronavirus experience.

“I felt pretty isolated during quarantine but I missed being able to walk around or go to restaurants with friends but FaceTiming my friends helped a lot,” Peyton Ahumada said.

The new online school format affected a lot more than education. Athletes could not play their favorite sports, seniors were forced to start their last “first day” of school on a voice call and had to face the reality of their shelter in place situations. 

As COVID-19 and quarantine took a toll on their mental health, students found unique solutions to maintain a healthy mindset.

For Talia Keaveny, riding horses was a way to relieve her anxiety. It helped her escape from the negative aspects of her life.

“Horses are very sensitive and can feel emotions, so whenever I’m stressed they help to calm me down and keep a relaxed mind. Riding is something that I can do to always lift my mood and turn any bad day around,” Keaveny said.

While Keaveny may find horse riding fun and relaxing, it’s not an activity everyone can get their hands on. To stay motivated and have a better mentality, students like Connor Louie decided to lift weights.

“It gave me something to look towards every day. I ultimately used it to better myself and teach determination. It also kept me sane, but the hardest part was finding the motivation to go outside and work out during hot days,” Louie said.

Working out is a way to improve physical and mental health, but it can often be difficult. Dancing is another form of exercise that also helps Ellie Hokerson-Brun feel better about herself. That is why she decided to continue online dancing classes.

“Dancing has been an outlet for me. I’ve struggled a lot with confidence in the past, so dance has helped me learn to love myself more and given me a confidence boost. No matter what I’m feeling I can just dance through it along with people who share the same passion, even though it’s through a screen,” Hokerson-Brun said.

Visual arts can also similarly provide emotional relief. Alicia Cho draws as a support mechanism to get her through these complicated times.

“When I’m focused on trying to draw pieces of hair or an eye, I don’t think about anything else. I look to drawing to take me away from all the worrying. The pride and confidence I feel after finishing a piece makes me remember that one day everything will be okay,” Cho said.

Art allows people such as Cho to express individuality and endless creativity. Others prefer to escape reality in literature, as Karan Sharma described.

Sharma said, “If I’m feeling exhausted or stressed, I read to calm my mind. I become intrigued by the thrill and mystery of a book which helps me to enjoy and relax more.”